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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Mar 2, 2015

Blackburn and Tillis Introduce Bill Aimed to Undo FCC Decision to Restore Local Authority

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/blackburn-tillis-introduce-bill-aimed-undo-fcc-decision-restore-local-authority/

Last week, the FCC made history when it chose to restore local telecommunications authority by nullifying state barriers in Tennessee and North Carolina. Waiting in the wings were Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Senator Thom Tillis from Tennessee and North Carolina respectively, with their legislation to cut off the FCC at the knees. [A PDF of the draft legislation is available online.]

Readers will remember Blackburn from last year. She introduced a similar measure in the form of an amendment to an appropriations bill. Blackburn has repeatedly attributed her attempts to block local authority to her mission to preserve the rights of states. A Broadcasting and Cable article quoted her:

 

 

“The FCC’s decision to grant the petitions of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina is a troubling power grab,” Blackburn said. “States are sovereign entities that have Constitutional rights, which should be respected rather than trampled upon. They know best how to manage their limited taxpayer dollars and financial ventures.”

Thom Tillis, the other half of this Dystopian Duo, released a statement just hours after the FCC decision:

“Representative Blackburn and I recognize the need for Congress to step in and take action to keep unelected bureaucrats from acting contrary to the expressed will of the American people through their state legislatures.”

Considering that networks in Chattanooga and Wilson are incredibly popular and an increasing number of communities across the country are approving municipal network initatives through the ballot, it is obvious that Tillis is rather confused about the expressed will of the American people. He needs to sign up for our once weekly newsletter!

No doubt the decision will be tied up in court proceedings for some time to come as state lawmakers attempt to control what municipalities do with their own connectivity decisions.

In keeping with the drama of the recent days, I have to say, The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” If Blackburn and Tillis are so convinced the FCC is overstepping, why not let the matter be decided in the courts? They know the law is not on their side, that’s why.

We encourage you to contact your elected officials, and let them know that you think about the Blackburn/Tillis bill: “that dog won’t hunt,” in the words of Chairman Wheeler. The victory of February 26th was a significant first step in a long road to ensuring fast, affordable, reliable Internet for every one. Let’s keep the momentum rolling.

Jim Baller is the Senior Principal of Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide, the lead counsel to Wilson and the Chattanooga EPB. You can read Jim’s full statement at the firm’s website:

“This is an important moment for communities in North Carolina, Tennessee, and other states that have barriers to local investments in advanced communications networks,” said Jim Baller, senior principal of Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide. “Not only has the Commission confirmed that it has authority to remove such barriers, but it has also compiled a massive record documenting the critical role that local Internet choice can play in fostering strong, vibrant communities and in ensuring that the United States will remain a leading nation in the emerging knowledge-based global economy.”

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Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Feb 26, 2015

Cable Companies Lose Big at FCC, Barriers to Community Broadband Struck Down

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/barriers-community-broadband-struck/

Two southern cities today persuaded the Federal Communications Commission to recognize their right to build their own publicly owned Internet networks where existing providers had refused to invest in modern connections. The 3-2 FCC vote removes barriers for municipal networks in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina, to extend their high-quality Internet service to nearby… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Feb 9, 2015

Community Broadband Networks Map Fact Sheet 2015

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/community-broadband-map-fact-sheet/

As of January 2015, more communities than ever before have realized the value of publicly owned broadband infrastructure. Many communities that choose to invest in publicly owned infrastructure do so because their needs are not met by large corporate providers. While some invest to bring reliable connectivity to local residents, others have no choice; businesses increasingly need… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Feb 18, 2015

Answering Questions About Title II and Munis – Community Broadband Bits Episode 138

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/answering-questions-title-ii-munis-community-broadband-bits-episode-138/

As we near the FCC open meeting at the end of next week, when it will decide on both the Chattanooga and Wilson petitions regarding their wish to expand as well as a proposal to reclassify Internet access a Title II service in order to ensure it can maintain the same open Internet we have… Continue reading

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Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jan 15, 2015

National Press Follows President Obama to Cedar Falls, Iowa

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/national-press-president-obama-cedar-falls-iowa/

On January 14th, President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, to share his strategy to expand high-speed connectivity to more Americans, encourage competition, and galvanize economic development. Obama’s plan centers around community networks and he announced that the next step will be eliminating barriers in 19 states that usurp local authority to invest in publicly owned… Continue reading